Historically the most famous consumer of hemp seeds was??
The Buddha! (Who ate them during his fast of enlightenment)
I couldn't help but smile
For the past few years, protein powder and store-bought protein bars have been a pantry staple. As a general philosophy, my first choice for a protein source will always be food, but there are certain occasions when I'll reach for my scoop. If I'm working into the wee hours of the am, a smoothie will often be close by. My husband has a stash of bars in his office drawer; a quick snack in the late afternoon while he heads to the gym
As I've begun to study holistic nutrition and learned more about whole, processed, and refined foods, the powders and bars in pantry haven't been touched. It's not the concept of protein powder that's turned me off; instead, after examining the labels, one has to wonder, is this even food?
So I've paused to re-evaluate and experiment with brands that include organic and natural ingredients that I can recognize and pronounce. What better place to start, than with hemp
These homemade hemp protein bars have become one of our favorite snacks, with an ingredient list of healthy, nutritious, whole foods. They're fantastically moist, caramelly sweet from the dates, chocolatey, with a nice crunch from the nuts and cacao nibs.
As a bonus, the bars are incredibly easy to make (no baking required) and freeze beautifully. A trip through your grocery's natural foods section should help you find everything you'll need
Compare these to store-bought, which more often than not, are candy bars in disguise loaded with refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and preservatives, and lacking in fiber. In most cases, the protein source used is an inferior quality of whey.
What are hemp seeds anyway?
These tiny, round seeds are the edible part of the hemp plant (nope, no active THC here, sorry!) They have a light nutty flavor that doesn't overpower, which makes them wonderful for sprinkling on dishes and using as an ingredient in recipes. They're a rich source of protein, vitamin E, omegas, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
All of hemp's edible forms are derived from the hulled seeds (often referred to as “hemp hearts”). They can be pressed for oil, turned into butter or milk, milled into protein powder, roasted or shelled for use in recipes such as 2 Bite Brownies, Hemp Heart Vanilla Sauce, or Blueberry Protein Power Smoothies.
No matter the form, hemp is vegan and free of gluten, sugar, trans fats, cholesterol, and THC. It's usually safe for those who aren't able to tolerate nuts, lactose, or sugar.
These seeds may be little, but they're mighty
They contain all 20 amino acids, including the nine that are essential (essential means those our bodies can't produce and can only get through food)
The highest plant-based source of essential fatty acids, with more than flax or any other nut or seed oil
A superior vegetarian source of protein, considered to be easily digestible (lots of people notice they don't have bloating or gas like they do when using whey or other products)
The perfect 3:1 ratio of omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid, for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system
A great source of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. In a serving of hemp protein powder (2 Tbsp), there is 8 g of fiber. That's nearly 1/3 of your total daily requirement!
~ Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
Hemp Protein Granola Bars
- Dry Ingredients
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds)
- ½ cup protein powder (or use hemp hearts instead of protein powder for a recipe total of 1 cup)
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 2 Tbsp cacao nibs
- ¼ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
- Wet Ingredients
- 1 ½ - 2 cups Medjool dates (~ 20 total)
- 5 Tbsp coconut oil, at room temp
- 1 heaping Tbsp almond or peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
(or ½ tsp ground vanilla)
Add After Blending
- 6 Tbsp rolled oats
- 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
- Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl of your food processor & pulse 5-10 times. Be careful to not over-process here, you'd like them to be a little crunchy
- Place the dry mix in a bowl and set aside.
- Add all of the wet ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and process until smooth (1-2 min)
- Add the processed wet mixture to the processed dry mix, along with the oats and poppy seeds. Stir well (or mix with your hands) until well combines.
- Spread the dough into a 9x9" baking dish, and press to compact.
- Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Cut into bars.
- They will keep about a week in the fridge in an air-tight container. They can be frozen as well.
These could easily become a daily staple, they are that good!
Thanks so much Anna!
This recipe is a winner. I’ve been a fan of hemp and chia for a while. I entered this recipe into MyFitnesspal.com for tracking. As I return to trail running, these will be great for long days on my feet in the woods. Thanks.
PS I’m already thinking about a way to get some coffee/caffeine in these bars. 🙂
Thank-you so much for your sweet comment! It made me smile many times over ..
Do you think that if you were to use ground flax seeds in place of the hemp protein powder that they would turn out alright?
I’d be a bit nervous about using ground flax seeds in place of the protein powder as a 1:1 substitute. Mostly because they have such different binding properties.
One option to try? Make the dough without the protein powder and see how it looks consistency-wise. If it seems a bit wet, I’d mix the ground flax seeds in a little at a time
If you make them with the ground flax seeds .. I’d love to know how they turn out
Have a great weekend .. Ali
Do you think I could substitute the dates for something with less sugar? For health reasons I can’t each much in the way of carbs/sugar etc, including fruit. Possibly more almond butter? Do they help bars stick together?
These look amazing! I love granola bars and have been wanting to make my own – am definitely saving this recipe! My hubby mountain bikes and he’s always looking for bars to take with im and we end up buying from the stores. Homemade would be much better, and more economical I think!
The beauty in granola bars is how darn travel-friendly they are, and I’ve always bought premade from the store. Gotta start learning how to make my own lol. Thanks for the great recipe!
Do you think that if you were to use ground flax seeds in place of the hemp protein powder. would love to try out this recipe
I’ve always held firm that the co-workers and nannies, (obviously) food bloggers (and their children) are the best-fed folks in all the land! These look great; I’d love to have a healthier bar to share with my little one!
many thanks for an excellent recipe. Full success, first time i tried it. Question: is there anything i could add / or adjust to boost the protein content? I would like to get at least 8 grams of protein per piece…
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